Step by step, Jaylon Smith is getting closer to beginning his NFL career in earnest.
The second-year Cowboys linebacker, who didn’t play last season after blowing out his knee and suffering nerve damage in Notre Dame’s bowl game, continues to do a little more during the team’s offseason program.
“It seemed like he handled the work well last week, and he’s just done an amazing job right from the start with his rehab taking it day by day, making progress and we’ll continue to do that,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “If he takes that approach, that’s when he’s going to have his most success. That’s what he’s done up to this point.”
Smith is eligible to take part in next weekend’s rookie minicamp, but Garrett said they don’t want to push him too fast by throwing him out there with the draft picks and tryout players. But he will continue to do work with the rest of the team during the week.
“He’s going to do the veteran stuff on the field on Tuesday and Thursday, so I don’t anticipate him doing a lot on the field over the weekend,” Garrett said. “But he’ll go through the meetings and the walk-throughs [during the three-day minicamp].”
It’s a good start for Smith, since they knew last year was a red-shirt season for him. So they might as well continue being patient, since they think he could become a key piece of a defense once-or-if he returns to his college form.